Monday, April 23, 2012

Surviving a Steakhouse

My partner Paul eats meat. But I rarely ever have to look at it in its raw, original form since he tends to live off processed canned soups and frozen pizzas. And when we dine out, we always go somewhere very vegan-friendly because I get what I want. :-P

But Thursday was Paul's 32nd birthday, and I told him we could eat wherever he wanted. Of course, he picked Folk's Folly, a fancy steakhouse. Some vegans won't step foot into a steakhouse, but I've grown up around meat-eaters, so watching other people eat meat doesn't bother me too much. However, my hesitance about the steakhouse had much more to do with my concern about finding something vegan to eat.

Most every steakhouse serves fries and salad, and while vegans roll their eyes at those lackluster options, I have to admit that sometimes I really enjoy the old fries-and-salad combo. But not this time. If Paul was going to order a $40 steak, I was gonna get a good damn meal too. I checked out the menu for Folk's Folly online and saw a few options on the a la carte vegetable side menu. I could have made a meal from sides of steamed broccoli and grilled asparagus, but that didn't sound very filling.

So I emailed Folk's Folly to inquire about vegan options, secretly hoping the responder would tell me that the chef would love to prepare me a special off-the-menu vegan meal. And that's exactly what happened! I was told the chef makes either pasta dishes or grilled veggie plates for vegans.

When we arrived at the restaurant, I informed my server that I'd been told I could have a special vegan plate. He asked a few questions about what I like and don't like and said the chef would whip something up. Here's what was delivered to my table — Angel Hair Pasta with Vegetables, Olive Oil, and Fresh Basil with slices of olive oil-coated baguette:


This was really, really good! I loved the variety of veggies — broccoli, red pepper, squash, mushrooms, and asparagus. And the olive oil sauce was light and delicious.

So the moral to this story is always call or email ahead before dining at a not-so-vegan friendly restaurant. If it's a nice place, they'll probably be more than willing to give you something off the menu. And then all your omni friends will be jealous because they have to order from the menu and you get special treatment.

14 comments:

The Countess said...

How nice of you to go to the steak house with your partner, my boyfriend is an omni aswell but we only go to vegan friendly places where I can order off the menue. I don't really mind watching people eat meat but a steak house would probably be too much for me. On the other hand I have a vegetarian friend who works in a steak house^^

Caitlin said...

wow, that's amazing! i love to hear non-vegan restaurants being so accommodating to vegans. it gives me hope and i will definitely call ahead if i ever have to eat at a steakhouse!

Josh said...

My experience has been very different in these situations. I call / email ahead of time to ask about a vegan option, and they promise lots of great stuff, and then I end up with a plate full of soggy veggies, and they end up charging me the same as the guy who got the steak.

In any case, glad you got lucky. I'll keep this place in mind in case I have to take my parents out or something...

Barb@ThatWasVegan said...

That's great! We have a steakhouse here that has one vegetarian item on the menu, which rotates. I've been there on nights when the item was lasagna, and the chef made me a nice pasta and vegetable dish. I imagine there was some eye-rolling going on in the kitchen, but that's okay :)

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan said...

I've had my share of BBQ-restaurant experiences here in KC too, needless to say...most of the time, all you gotta do is ask, and most places find a way to decently accommodate you. This meal looks extra-good, though!

Lisa in Nashviille said...

That's awesome. I recently had an experience in Nashville that put me off anything but veggie or ethnic restaurants forever. I called ahead to have people advise me to order the brie or the shrimp (weren't listening) then after talking with my waiter received a plate of boiled pasta and vegetables with no onion, garlic, spice or joy of any kind. I had just returned from Toronto where eating was divine. I was and still am obviously very upset. The waiter said, "it's hard to veganize things" . . . Uggh!

Amber and Scott said...

This is fantastic!!!

Babette said...

Wow, I should definitely do that next time I have to eat in a place like that.

Sometimes you can't even have French fries because they are cooked in beef fat.

Brian Woz said...

Excellent score! I love eating at a restaurant with a real chef, not a "cook." ... I laughed out loud when you wrote "when we dine out, we always go somewhere very vegan-friendly because I get what I want."

Jesse @ Happy Go Lucky Vegan said...

I won't be so nervous about going to a steak house next time! Good call to contact the restaurant in advance - your pasta looks delish!

Reia@thecrueltyfreereview said...

It's good to hear this, and I definitely believe that nicer restaurants are willing to make accomodations, as long as you aren't a snob about it. Glad you both got what you wanted!

tender b. said...

Nice. I've never thought of the email ahead approach when faced with a steakhouse but that is a good idea.

Vegan in Memphis said...

That looks yummy! FYI if you ever want some amazing Italian food-Chef Alex Grisanti @ Elfo's in G'town is always happy to make a vegan creation specific to your likes. He has catered to many veggies/vegans : ) When I asked his wife why they don't have vegan dishes on the menu, she said he feels that's too limiting and he would rather create a special meal for each person. They even have gluten free pasta if you ask for it.

Jared said...

I always like reading about these stories. As someone who has only dated omnivores, I have been to my fair share of seafood/steak restaurants and struggle with options. That being said, your plate of pasta and veggies appears to kick ass!

I fall into a similar boat as well with the fries/salad. I almost feel bad, but if I know I can get an order of really hot, crisp, salty fries with a cool, fresh salad, I'll go for it. I aim for more variety at home with different veggies and especially beans and grains, but sometimes fries and salad really hit the spot.